School board members on Nov. 5 set the stage for the Maine School Administrative District 40 budget when they voted to direct the district’s administration to prepare a budget with a 0 percent increase in expenses.

The superintendent, business manager, principals and others did that, and presented a budget on Feb. 2 that resulted in the reduction of the local assessment to the five towns in the school district. The initial proposed budget presented to the Budget Committee called for more than a half-dozen cuts to elementary school teacher positions. That budget also would have combined several classrooms to create, for example, a classroom with fourth- and fifth-graders.

Along the way, from the Feb. 2 budget unveiling to the Budget Committee’s final vote on March 30, more state funding was promised and more expenses were cut as the board and the public grappled with how to match quality education with fairness to taxpayers.

The result was a $20,867,957 budget that was approved by the SAD 40 School Board on March 31 at a meeting at Medomak Middle School. The 2010-2011 budget is down $96,000 from the 2009-2010 budget. The approved budget has fewer cuts to teacher positions and does not combine classrooms.

The budget for 2010-2011 does not provide funding for more than a dozen positions that were included in previous years. The cuts, however, include positions that were removed in the summer of 2009 as well as positions that were eliminated in the 2010-2011 budget. Superintendent Francis Boynton has said the cuts are a result of declines in enrollment.

Positions not filled in 2010 and not funded in the recently approved budget include a kindergarten teacher at Miller School ($47,818), two ed techs at Miler School (combined $11,514), a second-third grade teacher at Prescott Memorial School ($69,620), 40 percent of a guidance counselor position at Medomak Middle School ($24,185), half the time of a language arts teacher at Medomak Valley High School ($24,431) and an elementary resource teacher that worked in special education ($46,439).

Positions eliminated in the 2010-2011 budget include a teacher at Miller School ($48,924), two teachers at Warren Community School (combined $97,848), 60 percent of a guidance counselor position at Medomak Middle School ($36,461), an art teacher at Medomak Valley High School ($55,179), half the time of a principal at Union Elementary School ($37,150) and an administrative assistant in the central office ($27,036).

The $20,867,957 budget includes a state contribution of $8,897,235. The total local share is $11,595,722. There are also revenues from tuition ($50,000), miscellaneous sources ($50,000) and the fund balance ($275,000).

The local assessments for the district towns in the new budget are down overall by 1.97 percent from last year.

Waldoboro is responsible for $4,175,648, or 36 percent, of the SAD 40 budget. The town’s assessment is down 3.17 percent from the previous budget.

Warren is responsible for $2,974,593, or 25.7 percent, of the SAD 40 budget. The town’s assessment is down 1.3 percent from the previous budget.

Union is responsible for $1,802,009, or 15.5 percent, of the SAD 40 budget. The town’s assessment is up 0.9 percent from the previous budget.

Friendship is responsible for $1,499,830, or 12.9 percent, of the SAD 40 budget. The town’s assessment is down 2.2 percent from the previous budget.

Washington is responsible for $1,143,641, or 9.9 percent, of the SAD 40 budget. The town’s assessment is down 3.3 percent from the previous budget.

The formula for a local assessment is based on the number of pupils and the town’s valuation.

Waldoboro has 702 pupils, or 37.4 percent. Its valuation is $506,600,000, or 34.7 percent.

Warren has 571 pupils, or 30.4 percent. Its valuation is $305,750,000, or 20.9 percent.

Union has 281.5 pupils, or 15 percent. Its valuation is $235,300,000, or 16.1 percent.

Friendship has 135.5 pupils, or 7.2 percent. Its valuation is $272,650,000, or 18.7 percent.

Washington has 189.5 pupils, or 10 percent. Its valuation is $140,900,000, or 9.6 percent.

A budget town meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 1. Residents from the district towns will have a chance to debate the budget, and will vote on the articles that comprise the overall budget. The budget validation referendum will be held Tuesday, June 8. Residents will vote at the polls whether to approve the overall budget.